Determining what exactly will be presented to us on January 28 is somewhat difficult to predict. Sure, avid fans of either artist will have an idea of what music will go down, but as for this duet, there are no albums, the duet is rather new, and the only preview one could find for an example are a couple fan-recorded YouTube videos. Touring just as two people with no band is a rather new tour for these two, but Cindy Cashdollar and Sonny Landreth are absolutely no strangers to each other. A quick recollection of Cashdollar’s solo album Slide Show (an album full of collaborations with the best in the steel guitar business) has her paired with Landreth for the first cut, “Sliding Home.” This is an example of what the two can do together – except within a full band context. Come time for The Regattabar, there will be no band, just two of the finest slide guitarists in the business.
One main facet that will make this type of show hard to predict is how vast “slide guitar” stylistically is. Especially when talking about Cashdollar. On her album alone, she takes the instrument through its typical styles of blues, (blues/rock), Hawaiian, and swing. Her guitar playing doesn’t stop there though: new students to the world of the Dobro will recall that she has two instructional tapes on bluegrass Dobro playing! I somewhat suspect that not much bluegrass will be included in their show, but none the less, the music is still in her head, likely influencing her at any given moment.
Mr. Landreth is slightly less genre crossing, and his albums are consistently full of some great gritty electric blues-rock. His newest album, Elemental Journey, is in ways similar to Cashdollar’s though – collaborations on each track, some of which take him farther past his normal blues styles. Working with Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson (among others) as well as a symphony orchestra has given the album much praise from his listeners and fans for offering them such a diverse album crossing over with giants of other styles.
Though the exact show might be hard to predict, one thing will be sure — the audience is going to get to see simply the two greatest working slide guitar players out there together on one stage. I imagine the musical dialogue they create when together on stage is so natural that they’ll seamlessly be cohesively completing each other’s musical statements. No matter what context one may have known these two from, this is a show that cannot be missed for those familiar with their work. Pack the house!
~ Matthew Crutchfield (contemporary composer and instrumentalist at Berklee College of Music)